I americium sitting successful beforehand of my machine erstwhile my woman rings maine from a bid platform.
“Busy?” she says.
“Very busy,” I say, tapping astatine the keyboard.
“Stiamo lavorando insieme,” says my computer, successful a woman’s voice.
“What was that?” my woman says.
“Nothing,” I say. “Gerunds.”
“Do we privation to spell to the theatre tomorrow?” she says. “Someone’s got spare tickets.”
“Not sure,” I say.
“I cognize what you mean,” she says. “The play is meant to beryllium brilliant, though.”
“What clip does it start?” I say.
“What does that matter?” she says.
“I’m a businessman,” I say.
“Just accidental yes oregon no,” she says.
“Sto ancora decidendo,” my machine says.
“Yeah, OK,” I say.
As the fog of Covid restrictions lifts, I find it progressively hard to marque logical choices astir risk. I inactive deterioration a disguise successful shops, but I’ve besides precocious shaken the sweaty hands of strangers. I got connected a level successful August, but I inactive haven’t been wrong a pub. Or a theatre.
That nighttime I enactment up precocious watching a movie astir demons invading an aged household house. Paranormal investigators wearing headphones beryllium earlier screens astatine the room table, portion anguished wraiths interval down them. It’s meant to beryllium terrifying, but to maine it conscionable looks similar lockdown.
Hours aboriginal I americium having an anxious imagination astir buying erstwhile my woman shakes maine awake. It’s inactive acheronian outside, but she is already dressed.
“What are you doing?” I say.
“Working,” she says. My woman started a caller concern from scratch during lockdown, and the hours she keeps are a stark reminder of what is required to beryllium a businessperson.
“What clip is it?” I say.
“There are 190 radical connected my website close now,” she says, handing maine my phone. “I request to cognize why.”
“Someone influential astir apt recommended you,” I say. “It wasn’t me.”
“I cognize it wasn’t you,” she says. “Can you find retired what’s happened?”
The wifi successful the chamber is patchy, but I way down the notation that is the root of the spike successful traffic.
“Thank you,” she says. “You tin spell backmost to sleep.”
“No I can’t,” I say. “I’m a businessman – I request to cheque my emails.”
“You bash that,” she says. I person 1 caller email, from the Italian connection app I subscribe to. It says: “You’re connected fire!”
Later that greeting my woman comes retired to my office. “So,” she says. “We’ve had 30 orders already today.”
“Oh,” I say. “That’s good, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she says. “But successful the circumstances I deliberation I request to spell down there.” By “down there” she means the store successful the mediate of the countryside that serves arsenic her fulfilment centre.
“Good idea,” I say. “When?”
“Right now,” she says. “I’ll travel backmost tomorrow.”
“But that means …” I say.
“It means you’ve got a spare theatre ticket,” she says.
“What?” I say. “I can’t spell by myself!”
“So you instrumentality 1 of them,” she says, pointing backmost astatine the house. “That’s what children are for.”
“OK, fine,” I say.
“You could beryllium a small much supportive,” she says.
“I americium being supportive,” I say. “I’m accepting my fate.”
“You’re trying to marque maine consciousness bad,” she says.
“You request to beryllium much ruthless,” I say. “Screw my feelings – this is business.”
“You’re being weird,” she says.
“I deliberation you’re trying to prime a combat with maine due to the fact that you don’t privation to thrust to Wiltshire.”
“There whitethorn beryllium an constituent of that,” she says.
The theatre tickets travel with a database of requirements: impervious of treble vaccination oregon earthy immunity, oregon a antagonistic test. I’ll besides request a disguise and a contactless outgo paper – the theatre has stopped taking cash. The evening whitethorn beryllium to beryllium much of a trial of my mettle than I’d imagined.
I spell wrong to find the mediate 1 gazing into a surface astatine the room table, earphones in, similar a shade huntsman awaiting an apparition. He’s the lone 1 awake: archetypal come, archetypal punished.
“You wanna spell spot this play tonight?” I say.
“What’s it about?” helium says, frowning.
“No idea,” I say.
“Sure,” helium says, but his darting eyes say: sto ancora decidendo.